Monday Night Raw
Date: September 30, 2002
Location: Compaq Center, Houston, Texas
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler
We’ll wrap the month up here with less than three weeks to go before No Mercy, which hasn’t even been addressed yet. All I know is we’re going to be seeing a lot more of Ric Flair and HHH because HHH is in charge and wants Flair to feel special again or something like that. Let’s get to it.
Here’s Eric Bischoff in the ring to tell us to not bother going over to Monday Night Football. Tonight there are going to be three title matches with Trish Stratus, Chris Jericho and HHH all putting their titles on the line. Good idea but I’m scared about who might be challenging. As for No Mercy, it’s going to be title vs. title at No Mercy because we’re going to have one show and one champion.
That brings him to Lita, who has been standing behind him. Apparently Lita recently said Smackdown was better than Raw and it wasn’t because of having better talent. Eric calls her a rather rude word and says that Lita is worthless after breaking her neck in Hollywood. Lita says that’s her opinion so she has three minutes to get out. Cue Jeff Hardy, Booker T. and Goldust for the save and that means it’s time for a match.
3 Minute Warning vs. Goldust/Booker T.
Booker gets knocked to the floor to start but comes right back in to break up some double teaming. We settle down to Jamal hammering on Goldust as the fans rip on Rico. Rosey drops a spinning legdrop for two and it’s time to continue the beating. Thankfully the fans switch over to a Goldust chant and he grabs a neckbreaker to put Rosey down.
That’s enough for the hot tag off to Booker as house is quickly cleaned. The side kick sets up the Spinarooni but the ax kick only gets two. Rico gets in a kick to drop Goldust, leaving Booker to clothesline the monsters. A World’s Strongest Slam puts him down though and Jamal’s top rope splash is good for the pin.
Rating: D+. Nothing to the match here but it’s not a good sign when Booker, as in the hometown favorite, gets to lose AGAIN. Booker has been one of the hottest acts on Raw for months now and I have no idea why he and Goldust keep losing so much. They should have been the Tag Team Champions a month ago with Booker moving up the ladder in a hurry. To be fair though, at least they’re pushing SOMEONE fresh and that’s a lot better than you can say most of the time.
Rico is ready to take 3 Minute Warning to the Tag Team Titles.
Christian and Lance Storm argue over last week’s title loss but William Regal wants them to concentrate on Storm’s match with Randy Orton.
Chris Jericho says Kane’s chances of becoming Intercontinental Champion are as real as Terri’s chest. Ace reporter Gregory Helms comes in to say his sources have told him that Jericho has no chance. Jericho: “Has everybody in this company gone completely insane?” Chris goes on a rant against freaks when Kane comes in to scare him away. After Kane kissed her last week, Terri kisses Kane and leaves. Kane: “Chicks dig the mask.”
Randy Orton vs. Lance Storm
Orton starts fast with his backbreaker as the announcers talk about Saddam Hussein. That’s about it for the early offense though as Storm takes him into the corner for some yelling and choking. It’s off to an armbar with Orton slapping the mat to no avail. Storm tries an O’Connor Roll with trunks but Orton rolls through into one of his own and grabs the tights for a sloppy pin.
We’re not done yet though as Christian steals Jim Ross’ hat and says Storm dropped the ball again. That means a challenge.
Randy Orton vs. Christian
Randy starts fast again and dropkicks him before the bell, only to get draped across the top rope. Orton shrugs off some choking and gets two off a powerslam. Christian ducks a high crossbody and tries the Unprettier but Orton reverses into the Overdrive, botches the heck out of it, and then hits the second attempt for the pin.
JR gets his hat back and I have no idea why the Un-Americans are being treated like this.
Bischoff yells at Jeff and gives him another match with Big Show. Jeff leaves and Ric Flair comes in to say that kid has no respect. Apparently Rob Van Dam has challenged Flair for tonight and Eric isn’t sure if the match will take place. Flair is working on an ex-Smackdown talent but details are scarce.
Jeff Hardy vs. Big Show
Jacqueline is guest referee because that’s interesting. Jeff dives at him and is launched right back inside so the beating can begin. That includes a choke in the corner and a toss into the air for a big crash. One heck of a toss sends Hardy outside but Show posts himself. Jeff dropkicks a chair into Show’s head to knock him over the barricade and that’s a DQ.
Rating: D. The wrestling hasn’t been this show’s strong suit and it’s not like Jeff gets anything from this win. Big Show is right back to the lumbering oaf period and the bald spot isn’t helping him. It’s a bad match and bad booking, which has been a theme so far tonight. That’s not good when we’re a third of the way through the show.
Booker T. wants to fight Jericho (who insulted Booker in his earlier promo) but Chris already has a match tonight you see. The catchphrase is loaded up but Jericho dares to cut him off before the sucka. Dang man. Booker can’t get anything in tonight.
Raw World Title: Bubba Ray Dudley vs. HHH
Bubba is challenging and spray paints HHH on a table. We get a pretty nice speech about how Bubba wants to earn his title and prove that he’s more than just a tag wrestler. I’d buy into this if this wasn’t Bubba Ray Dudley vs. HHH in 2002. Or ever for that matter. They slug it out in the corner before heading outside with Flair looking a bit nervous.
Back in and Bubba spears him down for some right hands but no reaction because no one buys this as a potential title change. A Flair distraction lets HHH take over and we hit the choking for two. It’s off to the sleeper as we hear about how Bubba has waited twelve years for a title shot. The sleeper experiment has seemed to end though as there isn’t even a dramatic arm drop.
HHH misses a right hand and gets caught in a German suplex for a breather. Bubba adds a Samoan drop and a DDT for two, followed by the Bubba Bomb. Of course that draws Flair into the ring for a distraction so there’s no cover. Bubba can’t hit a powerbomb so HHH Pedigrees him to retain.
Rating: C-. I’ll give them points for throwing a bone to Bubba but no one who had ever watched wrestling before bought him as any kind of a threat. The match didn’t even run eight minutes and the fans just did not care because they knew it wasn’t going to happen. It wasn’t even bad, which is a minor miracle in its own right, but the lack of drama killed off anything they could have done.
Victoria jumps Trish as she’s getting ready.
Women’s Title: Trish Stratus vs. Victoria
Trish is defending and charges to the ring to start the brawl in a hurry. Victoria is thrown in and right back out but she sidesteps a dive off the apron to send Trish into the barricade. The slingshot legdrop gets two on the champ but Trish grabs a neckbreaker for the same. The Stratusphere gets the same and Victoria falls to the floor….where she grabs a chair for the DQ. This was kind of rocking until the quick ending.
Bischoff is spinning a wheel when Stacy (looking great here) cuts him off and asks for support in the semi-finals of the Internet Babe of the Year contest. Eric doesn’t care and explains Raw Roulette (Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal), which makes its debut next week. Stacy is given a match with Trish next week and leaves happy. Bischoff: “You’re not going to see anything like this on Monday Night Football.”
Video on Randy Orton.
The Un-Americans bicker some more.
Coach goes to talk to HHH but finds Flair, a good looking blonde and a bottle of champagne. HHH gets out of the shower to talk about his title defense at No Mercy. Two women call him back into the shower but Jericho comes in and wants a word. Coach is told to leave so Jericho hits on one of the girls. You would think they would throw the camera out too but maybe they’re into that kind of thing.
Tommy Dreamer/Rob Van Dam vs. Test/William Regal
Remember eight days ago when Van Dam was in a World Title match on pay per view? Dreamer throws Regal around to start before it’s off to Rob (still with bad ribs) to kick away at Test. It’s back to Regal for one heck of a suplex and Van Dam is in trouble. Unfortunately Jerry can’t talk about the possibilities of a bra and panties match so the match, which isn’t the most interesting in the world, isn’t getting any attention. Not that it matters anyway as Dreamer comes in off the hot tag and everything breaks down. Test can’t get the pumphandle so Van Dam kicks him into a rollup to give Dreamer the pin.
Rating: D. I’m so glad HHH gave Van Dam the rub so he could go and have a match like this. I know Dreamer is fine but teaming with him is a major downgrade for Van Dam, who was nothing but a sacrificial lamb for HHH. Then you have the Un-Americans who were champions two or three weeks ago and now they’re 0-3 tonight. I have no idea what the point is in the fast turnover but it’s been rather jarring.
Christian and Storm come out and get in a fight with Test and Regal before Dreamer and Van Dam clean house.
Booker gets in his SUCKA on Jericho an hour after he said “can you dig that”. I’ve always wanted him to do that and now he finally has! Uh, it’s not quite the thrill I was expecting.
Wrestlemania XIX press conference clip.
Intercontinental Title: Chris Jericho vs. Kane
Kane is challenging and peppers the champ in the corner with some right hands. Jericho bails to the floor and gets slammed off the top for his efforts. Cue Flair to ringside (I’m sure he and Jericho are just fine after their big feud over the last month and a half.) so he can put Jericho’s foot on the rope after Kane hits a tilt-a-whirl slam.
The chase doesn’t go anywhere so Kane throws Jericho out to the floor for a big crash. Flair tries to get Jericho up, earning himself an ejection. Kane slugs him up the ramp for good measure and we take a break. Back with Kane getting crotched on top and superplexed as the fans seem to be cheering for Jericho. It’s time to start in on the knee with Kane getting knocked to the floor.
Lawler keeps talking about Jericho’s music career so JR suggests that he join the band as a spoon player. That’s quite the visual. Kane uses the good leg to kick his way out of a leglock so Jericho switched to the Hartbreaker around the post. Back in and Jericho stays on the leg but throws in a little dance to make it a bit more versatile.
Kane gets in a belly to back suplex and a tilt-a-whirl powerslam as the knee seems just fine. Jericho is sent into the steps and the top rope clothesline gets two. Now it’s HHH coming out for a distraction but it’s not enough to set up the Walls. HHH gets in a spinebuster (which looked so bad that JR called it a belly to belly, which isn’t that far off) on the floor for two and Jericho grabs a chair. With JR being SURE that HHH and Jericho are in cahoots, Kane gets to the ropes to break the Walls. The big boot and chokeslam give Kane the title.
Rating: C. I’ll give them points for the longer match but I really don’t buy that Jericho and Flair are all cool so soon. I get that Flair is just a goon at this point and HHH had some meeting with Jericho but Chris and Flair being willing to work together so soon doesn’t fit. What also doesn’t fit is the match being focused on the knee and then having Kane just pop up like nothing happened. At least have a problem getting him up for the chokeslam. Finally, if you’re going to have Kane be the next sacrificial lamb to HHH, what’s the point in giving him the Tag Team Titles?
Overall Rating: D+. The problem here is the booking as we’re closing in on HHH vanquishing Kane (and beating a double champion in the process) and….who else came out of this show looking good? The Un-Americans are mostly split, Booker T., Goldust, Jericho and Van Dam all look to have nothing positive right now and Jeff Hardy is thrilled with a countout win over Big Show.
This show is all about HHH looking great and smarter than anyone else, which really does make me wonder why I’m supposed to care about the rest of the roster. Maybe HHH can give them a rub, which of course means him beating them into dust because it’s his show and anyone who thinks otherwise is getting the sledgehammer of reality to the head.
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